Drug Trafficking in Puerto Rico Drives Murder Rate Up Sharply


Federal and local officials are bolstering their defenses against a growing drug-trafficking menace that has driven up Puerto Rico’s murder rate to more than five times the national average, reports the Wall Street Journal. As the U.S. focuses on Mexican drug cartels, Puerto Rico is grappling with a growing drug trafficking problem.

Video from a massive airport drug bust was captured last June when authorities arrested dozens of people they say took part in a conspiracy to smuggle cocaine onto commercial flights bound for the U.S. Puerto Rico long has been prized by drug smugglers because it is American soil, meaning passengers and bags headed to the U.S. mainland don’t face Customs enforcement. The island’s appeal has grown as federal drug-enforcement efforts have targeted the border with Mexico, prompting traffickers increasingly to turn to Caribbean routes to move drugs, mainly cocaine, to the continental U.S.

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